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Yankees can’t wait forever for Greg Bird to step it up
3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 12:49PM #1
bigjeep8
Posts: 519

CHICAGO — By one reasonable standard, Greg Bird isn’t even halfway to judgment.



Can the Yankees afford to hang around for the verdict?



Bird, the Yankees’ first baseman, suffered a notable indignity — and set off another alarm in the team’s faniverse Tuesday — when he rode the bench for the final three frames of the Yankees’ 4-3, 13-inning victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field (worst ballpark name ever). In the top of the 11th inning, Aaron Boone opted to pinch hit the recently acquired, righty-hitting Luke Voit for Bird against White Sox left-hander Xavier Cedeno. Voit struck out, although he did contribute a single to the game-winning rally.



Good managers deploy all of their resources, and good teams give their managers myriad options.



It’s just that Voit, with a career .250/.283/.500 slash line against southpaws entering Wednesday night’s game, isn’t exactly a modern-day Frank Thomas.



Then again, for all of the hopes the Yankees have for Bird, their prodigal first baseman, he hasn’t looked exactly like a modern-day Don Mattingly himself.


“I don’t think he’s far off,” Boone said of Bird on Wednesday, before the Yankees completed their series with the Chisox. “I think it’s a few days of, sometimes he gets underneath the ball a little too much. That’s what he does well, hit the ball in the air, put it in the seats. So maybe just a little bit off, but I don’t really see much to think that he’s not close to clicking again.”


Bird took a .215/.306/.410 slash line for 2018 into Wednesday’s starting lineup, and for his career, he stood at .222/.312/.450 in 580 plate appearances. That’s not even a full season of work, even though he made his major league debut in 2015, and that light workload reflects the boatload of injuries that the 25-year-old has battled.


Billy Eppler, now the Angels’ general manager, worked for the Yankees when they selected Bird in the fifth round of the 2011 amateur draft. I recalled speaking to Eppler back in 2015 about Didi Gregorius, another acquisition in which he played a significant role, and he mentioned a tenet he held about player evaluation.


A position player needs 1,250 to 1,500 big-league plate appearances, Eppler reiterated in a text message Wednesday. That, he wrote, is when “you have an idea of what the player’s standard level of performance [is].”


That represents more than two full seasons. Gregorius didn’t hit that range until the end of ’15; remember how many folks wanted him banished to Siberia early in his first season as a Yankee?


We’ve seen the flashes of excellence in Bird, be it relatively larger samples (his .261/.343/.529 slash line in 46 games as Mark Teixeira’s injury replacement in ’15) or smaller ones (a .244/.426/.512 in 13 postseason games last October, including his memorable homer against tough Cleveland lefty Andrew Miller). This season, after missing the first eight weeks to recover from his latest injury (right ankle), Bird heated up while never quite getting hot and then turned ice cold.



His better full month was July, a .795 OPS that can’t match the .810 his White Sox counterpart Jose Abreu held for the whole year through Tuesday. His ghastly .237 OPS through his first seven August games — although, Boone pointed out, White Sox center fielder Adam Engel robbed him of a homer on Monday night — surely led Boone to go with Voit against Cedeno, who fares slightly better against lefty hitters (.669 OPS entering Wednesday) than righties (.694).


“Bird is a guy that usually, against most or all lefties, I’m very comfortable with him in those spots,” Boone said late Tuesday. “But Cedeno’s the one guy that we just like the matchup a little bit better there.”


The Yankees believe enough in Bird, who didn’t make himself available for comment on Wednesday afternoon, that they traded first baseman Tyler Austin to the Twins for Lance Lynn. With the team amidst an easy stretch in the schedule, it has the margin for error to keep giving reps to Bird.


At some point, though, Bird will have to soar higher and longer than he has to date. Or else it will be time to ground him.


nypost.com/2018/08/08/yankees-cant-wait-...

Boone: You know my mama wanted me to be a Manager.

Judge: My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.

Boone: Well you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best God damn player I ever saw. Suit up.
3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 1:06PM #2
thestraw44
Posts: 668

I think Bird should get most of the playing time at first for the rest of the season. Even if he improves a little, I would still bring in someone from FA to challenge him in ST. He looks too comfortable this year and don’t feel a sense of urgency from him to reward his team for their patience. Most understand the importance of his position and how hard it’s been to fill over the yrs but Bird needs to have his job threatened. It’s not fair when players like Clint Frazier get sent back down a bunch of times throughout the season but this guy gets to stay? Yanks FO needs to demand more from this position meaning after this season, it maybe time to find your first baseman on the FA market.

3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 1:12PM #3
GottaGoToMo
Posts: 73,944

Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:06PM, thestraw44 wrote:


I think Bird should get most of the playing time at first for the rest of the season. Even if he improves a little, I would still bring in someone from FA to challenge him in ST. He looks too comfortable this year and don’t feel a sense of urgency from him to reward his team for their patience. Most understand the importance of his position and how hard it’s been to fill over the yrs but Bird needs to have his job threatened. It’s not fair when players like Clint Frazier get sent back down a bunch of times throughout the season but this guy gets to stay? Yanks FO needs to demand more from this position meaning after this season, it maybe time to find your first baseman on the FA market.




If Bird keeps playing the way he has for the rest of the season, I expect the Yankees will be looking elsewhere for their first baseman.

3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 1:43PM #4
bomberhojoe
Posts: 14,381

Bird has yet to have a full year of At Bats and has had many of those ABs coming off of injury. Granted that calls into question his durability, but personally I still believe he is going to be a real good hitter.

John 3:16 * Ephesians 2:8-9 * Romans 10:9-10 * John 14:3-6 * Romans 5:8
3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 1:49PM #5
GottaGoToMo
Posts: 73,944

Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:43PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Bird has yet to have a full year of At Bats and has had many of those ABs coming off of injury. Granted that calls into question his durability, but personally I still believe he is going to be a real good hitter.




And what has he done to make you believe that?

3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 2:41PM #6
bomberhojoe
Posts: 14,381

Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:49PM, GottaGoToMo wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:43PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Bird has yet to have a full year of At Bats and has had many of those ABs coming off of injury. Granted that calls into question his durability, but personally I still believe he is going to be a real good hitter.




And what has he done to make you believe that?




I think he has a beautiful swing and if healthy could be a .280 + hitter, with 25 - 30 HRS.

John 3:16 * Ephesians 2:8-9 * Romans 10:9-10 * John 14:3-6 * Romans 5:8
3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 3:01PM #7
gregalex
Posts: 29

bird is nothing but a auto strike out and fly out in clutch    yanks hsould have picked up joe mauer  to play first and maybe russ martin to help with catching


also a decent rf indtead of robinson  



sonny gray looked good last night  maybe pitch him only away like ed whitson betenaces was lights out


elssbury out for year  hteres a shock    probably all next year to


3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 3:06PM #8
bumper
Posts: 4,794

Aug 9, 2018 -- 2:41PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:49PM, GottaGoToMo wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:43PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Bird has yet to have a full year of At Bats and has had many of those ABs coming off of injury. Granted that calls into question his durability, but personally I still believe he is going to be a real good hitter.




And what has he done to make you believe that?




I think his swing he has a beautiful swing and if healthy could be a .280 + hitter, with 25 - 30 HRS.




maybe high on the average, but even as putrid as he's been this season, he's on a full season pace of 27HR 90RBI. and his numbers last season when he was called up for the last month were very good: .253 8HR 25RBI .891OPS and late season 2015: .261 11HR 31RBI .871OPS.


this season he would have benefited from more time in the minors instead of essentially doing his spring training up here. think he pressed and lost his confidence though he did have one good month until his recent slide the last week.


still think he can do it and has til the end of the season to prove it. if not cashman will certainly explore other options for next season.

3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 3:35PM #9
hampfan
Posts: 3,142

Aug 9, 2018 -- 3:06PM, bumper wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 2:41PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:49PM, GottaGoToMo wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:43PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Bird has yet to have a full year of At Bats and has had many of those ABs coming off of injury. Granted that calls into question his durability, but personally I still believe he is going to be a real good hitter.




And what has he done to make you believe that?




I think his swing he has a beautiful swing and if healthy could be a .280 + hitter, with 25 - 30 HRS.




maybe high on the average, but even as putrid as he's been this season, he's on a full season pace of 27HR 90RBI. and his numbers last season when he was called up for the last month were very good: .253 8HR 25RBI .891OPS and late season 2015: .261 11HR 31RBI .871OPS.


this season he would have benefited from more time in the minors instead of essentially doing his spring training up here. think he pressed and lost his confidence though he did have one good month until his recent slide the last week.


still think he can do it and has til the end of the season to prove it. if not cashman will certainly explore other options for next season.




bumper, most scouts I've read about predict Bird's avg. at around .260 at best (maybe one year or two at the level you mention: .280), yes w/ homers in the twenties, esp. given Yankee Stadium. But I'm not so sure. He misreads pitches a lot, at least so far. I agree with you, though, that if he doesn't produce the remainder of this year, Cashman will be tasked with maybe selling his Hollywood swing to some other team who can offer us at least an A- pitcher in return.

3 months ago  ::  Aug 09, 2018 - 4:10PM #10
bumper
Posts: 4,794

Aug 9, 2018 -- 3:35PM, hampfan wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 3:06PM, bumper wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 2:41PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:49PM, GottaGoToMo wrote:


Aug 9, 2018 -- 1:43PM, bomberhojoe wrote:


Bird has yet to have a full year of At Bats and has had many of those ABs coming off of injury. Granted that calls into question his durability, but personally I still believe he is going to be a real good hitter.




And what has he done to make you believe that?




I think his swing he has a beautiful swing and if healthy could be a .280 + hitter, with 25 - 30 HRS.




maybe high on the average, but even as putrid as he's been this season, he's on a full season pace of 27HR 90RBI. and his numbers last season when he was called up for the last month were very good: .253 8HR 25RBI .891OPS and late season 2015: .261 11HR 31RBI .871OPS.


this season he would have benefited from more time in the minors instead of essentially doing his spring training up here. think he pressed and lost his confidence though he did have one good month until his recent slide the last week.


still think he can do it and has til the end of the season to prove it. if not cashman will certainly explore other options for next season.




bumper, most scouts I've read about predict Bird's avg. at around .260 at best (maybe one year or two at the level you mention: .280), yes w/ homers in the twenties, esp. given Yankee Stadium. But I'm not so sure. He misreads pitches a lot, at least so far. I agree with you, though, that if he doesn't produce the remainder of this year, Cashman will be tasked with maybe selling his Hollywood swing to some other team who can offer us at least an A- pitcher in return.




actually it was bomber w the .280. i said that was high.

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